How To Choose The Right Virtual Conference Software Platform For L&D
The right virtual conference software platform usually addresses pain points you never knew you had. Many organizations invest in the tool for client meet-and-greets or customer training only to discover that it’s a great addition to their L&D strategy, as it allows you to connect peers, boost in-house collaboration, and move your ILT online. You can even host remote performance evaluations to highlight personal areas for improvement. And that’s just for starters. These 7 tips can help you choose the best virtual meeting software for your top L&D priorities.
7 Tips To Help You Make The Right Software Choice
1. Identify Your L&D Strengths And Weaknesses
First things first, identify the L&D priorities you want to address with virtual meeting systems. What are your strengths and weak spots? This usually involves a Training Needs Analysis. Evaluate LMS metrics, conduct employee surveys, and assess team talents. Then use the data to streamline your online training objectives and identify hidden gaps. The key is to look for patterns. Say that 55% of your sales staffers struggle with product knowledge. Thus, you may want to host weekly recap meetings to refresh their memory. This gives them the chance to discuss product specs and practical benefits with their peers.
2. Align Gaps With Virtual Meeting Software Features
All those pain points revealed in phase 1 align with specific virtual meeting software features. For example, the problem about product knowledge requires VoIP support, email reminders, and recording. All these features break down accessibility barriers and ensure employees never miss a meeting. Another gap might be remote collaboration. In this case, you should look for a tool with screen sharing and live chats to open all lines of communication. Use an exclusive online directory to search for feature-rich tools that meet all your L&D needs.
3. Evaluate Your Online Training Library
What’s missing from your online training library? If you’re working with printed ILT materials, how can you incorporate them into virtual meetings? It’s crucial to assess your assets to look for gaps and new L&D opportunities. For example, you have several task simulations or demo videos that aren’t getting enough love from staffers. So, why not host live demonstrations to boost interactivity? Employees can ask questions during each step and see which skills are involved. A deep dive into your online training library also helps you find the right tool for the task. Namely, virtual conferencing software that supports content delivery formats and allows you to upload resource links.
4. Involve Key Stakeholders
All the key players should be involved in the selection process, including managers, external partners, and online training participants. As a matter of fact, you can ask them for recommendations if they’ve used virtual meeting software in the past. Or invite them to test drive the tool if the vendor offers free trials. However, it all starts with feedback. Ask them about your current L&D strategy to determine what they like best and least. Would they prefer more real-world application? Do they get enough peer support? Of course, their input is based on their respective roles. For instance, your HR team will use the tool to interview job candidates and host compliance events. Thus, they can help you evaluate your priorities from that angle and find the best tool for their job duties.
5. Set A Spending Limit
Unfortunately, your company has limited resources. So, you need to set a spending cap for your new virtual meeting software beforehand. The wonderful thing about conferencing tools is that they’re versatile. This means that every department benefits. As such, it’s not restricted to your L&D budget. Different departments can pitch in to purchase a robust virtual meeting platform that suits everyone’s needs. For example, 15% of the funding comes from the HR budget, while another 20% is from marketing since they’ll use the system to host customer training events and product promos.
6. Gauge User Preferences
Do users want to join meetings on their mobile device? Should they be able to customize the layout? Do instructors/managers prefer to mute lines during the presentation? You need to find a virtual conference software platform that aligns with employee preferences. But you must also consider clients, external partners, and anyone else who uses the tool. Surveys and polls are great tools to gauge their expectations and choose software that offers the best UX.
7. Sign Up For Free Demos
Many virtual conferencing providers offer free demos so that you can see the tool in action. It’s usually a recorded tour or a live event where you can ask follow-up questions. Some even provide free time-limited trials that allow you to explore the platform firsthand. Before you do, develop evaluation criteria. Is the system easy to use for every member of the team? Can you incorporate your own branding? What about vendor support services? After you test drive the tool, gather feedback to compile a shortlist. This also makes it easier to compare your top choices and break ties. For example, one platform is feature-rich but not as user-friendly. Do they have customer training tools to make up for it so that you don’t have a month-long learning curve?
The right virtual conference software platform should come with all the support you need to maximize functionality, whether it’s online FAQs, customer training resources, or live chats with the vendor. That said, you need to clarify your expectations in the RFP so that service providers can outline all their support options. You can also check out niche-specific online directories to find virtual meeting software that meets all your requirements, in fact, every listing features support and training that allows you to qualify vendors in advance.